Friday, May 7, 2010

Tutorial: Here's Lookin' at You Eye Patch

I have too many good jeans and pants that give in the knees well before their time. I did try the iron-on jean material patches only to be disappointed that the patch either fell off or was ripped off by restless fingers before the day was over.

Another problem was trying to use my Steam-A-Seam to cover a hole. Inside the fusible web left a sticky or scratchy surface and bothered little knees. So I came up with the idea of doing a reverse appliqué, appliqué. Or as I like to call it, an Eye Patch.

This patch was WELL received and even though I hadn't washed the pants yet (yeah, I know, I should have done that first), the jammies were off and these were on before I could mention the washing machine.

I think they go really well with an alien graphic t-shirt, don't you? My little one picks out his own clothes most of the time. As an aside on that subject, I heard a mother at the playground once declare that her son was absolutely NOT going out of the house with his red ball cap on (it would clash with his green and yellow complete John Deere outfit)! Seriously chick, get a grip.

Whooo, I'm back. (slapping face) I can't get on the subject of playground mommies. I do like the nanny that comes with her charge, though. She keeps it real.

Well, let's get on with the tutorial, shall we? I know you are ALL wanting to make some eye patches for yourself, so without further ado, here it is:

Tutorial: The Eye Patch

Step 1: Find a hole. (I couldn't resist)

Step 2: Download a copy of my eyeball cutouts, or draw some eye elements onto your fusible web.

Step 3: Apply the pattern onto the main patch fabric. I'm using a red patch as a base for my eyeballs. If you are a little confused by this step, please refer to my tutorial on how to appliqué using a fusible web by clicking on this link.

Step 4: Iron on your pieces and allow to cool. Make sure these guys are on really well. Once he's on the jeans, I'm sure he'll be taking a lot of face-plants into the ground.

Step 5: Carefully insert the entire patch into the pants leg, centering your eyes directly underneath the hole. Make sure the fabric is flattened down. See him peeking out? That's what you want.

Step 6: We needed to make sure the eyes were in the right spot because for this step, we need to pin down the patch all around the opening of the hole. I'd place the pins a little inside of the good fabric, on top of where it's starting to wear away.

Step 7: Now here's where we reverse appliqué the appliqué (say that 10 times fast). I like to use a small embroidery hoop on this so the fabric layers won't slip and slide around as I sew.

Step 8: Secure your fabric and trim away any excess or stray jean/pants threads. Get out an embroidery needle and some floss. I did an organic sort of circle around the eyes. No need to be perfect. I used this basic back stitch, making sure to knot my thread securely when complete.

Here's what he looks like after the embroidery. Isn't it nice when wiggly lines actually look good?

With the pants leg turned inside out, you can see that there are places where I had to 'reload' my needle and a couple of knots. This brings us to step 9...

Step 9: To make sure that my knots will not come undone and to clean up the backside a little, I put a few scraps of fusible web onto small strips of fabric and bonded those strips to my knots (see the three knot areas?). This way, the fabric strip on the top is permanently bonded with the thread and fabric underneath. Now I don't have to worry about anything coming loose. Carefully trim around your stitching, leaving .25" or .125".

Step 10: Last step! Now we need to free out little monster and give him (or his eyes at least) room to breathe. I like using a seam ripper for this job. Just pierce the worn fabric with a seam ripper and follow the stitch line all the way around the circle, leaving .25" or .125" of fabric.

You're finished! Now go take him out on the town and have some fun.

I really hope you'll give this a try, you won't be sorry! Be creative with your reverse appliqué and there will be smiles all around.

This is just a friendly reminder to you all to:


Margit Rosenaa said...

I love it! great idea - looks like a little cool monster living there.
:) Have a nice weekend

Pearl Girl said...

I am totally going to remember this for my little one. He will be having lots of holy jeans since they are hand me downs and stuff.

Jackamo said...


Cookie said...

you have no idea how many pairs of jeans you just saved at my house! i have had the same issues with jeans i've tried to patch. i use my ripped up ones for yard work/gardening and i can think of lots of crazy designs to "fill the holes". thank you thank you thank you. now following your blog!

Anonymous said...

(as usual)

Anonymous said...

(That was from Eli)

Suzanne said...

This is so cute! We (at are having a "Mending Week" on our blog next week and would love to link back to this post and feature your tutorial. Would that be okay with you?

Sparklinbecks said...

I blogged this project today! :)